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Photos from Bonampak

After visiting Yaxchilan, and having lunch in Frontera Corazal, we visited Bonampak. The site is in the Lacandon Indian reserve, and we had to change to an Indian owned minibus as no others are allowed in. The Lacandon community has a website. Like Yaxchilan the site was very quiet, because of the distance from Palenque.

The site reminded me a bit of Ek Bahlam - again the site is only partly excavated and the main interest is found in a room part way up a large structure at one end of a plaza. The Temple of the Murals is much narrower than the Acropolis at Ek Bahlam though, and the big draw is the murals in three rooms rather than a stucco mask.

In 1946 a group of local Lacandon indians showed the murals to the photographer Giles Healy. The murals are the most extensive and well preserved examples of Classic Maya art so far found and date from 790-792. Recently murals dating from 100BC were found at San Bartolo in Guatemala. Probably all Mayan rooms were originally decorated in a similar way.

The murals are very impressive but as they are so fragile access is limited to three people in each room at any one time and flash photography is not allowed.

The murals in the first room show a ceremony thought to be held to designate an heir. The second shows scenes of a battle and the torture of prisoners. The final room shows a bloodletting ceremony.

There are good pictures of the murals here and a reconstruction of what they originally looked like here.

After visiting the ruins we stayed in a cabana in the Lacandon village of Lacanjá. The next morning a collectivo picked us up and took us to Frontera Corazal to take a lancha across the river to Guatemala.

© Neil 2015